Health & Wellbeing, LGBTQ+

Who I Came Out To (Guest Post)

In a Bohemian Humanist first, I’ve opened up the floor to a guest post – an up and coming blogger who I am rather fond of. They wish to remain anonymous, but have been itching to get their work out there. Without further ado, here’s Who I Came I Out To.

It was summer break and I was 14 years old.  I had just finished my first year of high school. One of the girls had thrown an end-of-year party for all the girls in my class, an innocent affair of sugar, fizzy and party games. During the party, I found myself drawn for the first time to Hannah (not her real name), a girl I had never paid any particular attention to before. I wanted to sit next to her, I wanted to be part of her conversations and I wanted her to laugh at the things that I said; her opinion of me had suddenly become very important. My friends were less than pleased by this: it must have seemed to them I had suddenly ditched them for her, and I was not able to offer any explanation. I did not understand what I was feeling.

In the weeks that followed, I thought about this a lot. Living semi-rurally, unable to drive and in a time before smartphones, I had plenty of time for rumination. I remember sitting out the back of our property, thinking about Hannah, wondering why I was thinking about her, feeling mixed up and confused. I also remember a precious few Google searches, covertly undertaken on the family computer – when I was able to gain a few moments of private access – followed by a quick deletion of my search and browser history. I was slowly coming to a realisation about myself, but it wasn’t one I was ready to share yet.

The first person I came out to was myself.
Despite the absence of listening ears, uttering the words ‘I’m in love with a girl’ was still a terrifying thing to do. It gave a solidity, a realness, a sense that it had to be faced. Even at the naive age of 14, I knew that I was embarking on a journey that split from the norm and which could not be considered the path of least resistance.

The second person I came out to was my dog. She took it in her stride and was content to listen while I rambled on about my feelings. In fact, I think she was probably pleased, as I took her for an usually high number of long walks that summer.

The third person I came out to was a strange choice, in retrospect. I like to think it shows I had a functioning “gaydar” before I even knew what that meant. Back at school for Year 10,  I told a friend with whom I was neither particularly close nor who was a safe bet for acceptance; she was a regular attendee of a reasonably traditional church and youth group. Luckily, she was incredible. A more responsive sounding board than my dog, we spent many lunchtimes walking around the school grounds, as she listened and offered endless support and reassurance. She saw me through telling my parents and my close friends, and we remained friends into our twenties before naturally drifting apart. Last year, I learned from a mutual friend that she was engaged to a girl. I was taken aback, as she had identified as straight throughout our decade-long friendship, but pleasantly surprised. I hope that she had someone as supportive of her as she was of me when she was figuring it all out.

Numbers four and five were my mum and my dad. While not ideal, I am aware of how fortunate I was in their reaction considering the reactions many queer people face. My parents were shocked; they later told me they thought I was about to confess to pregnancy. They were shaken; I know a few weeks of sleepless nights followed for my mum. But they never made me question their love and support. They always respected my boundaries around who I wanted to tell, or not tell. They continue to correct my grandparents when they call my girlfriend my friend. In the years since telling them, I have never felt uncomfortable bringing any partner home: they have always been welcomed by my parents. I know what a blessing this is, and I am grateful.

The sixth, seventh and eighth people I told were my close friends. Truthfully, they took it worse than my parents. At first, they didn’t get it. I told them I liked someone in our class, and at our all-girls school, this was incomprehensible. When it clicked, there was a palpable awkwardness, one that continued to surround the subject for many years. I do not blame them; we were so young and so inexperienced, navigating topics we didn’t really understand. Over time they have become more supportive, wanting to know about my girlfriends and helping out at pride events. However, their initial reaction stuck with me as I made my way through the rest of high school.

I couldn’t tell you who was next on the list. It grew very slowly during my remaining school years. After moving away for university, the new found diversity of city life meant that by the end of first year it was common knowledge, and I had my first proper girlfriend.

There are still people who will never be on the list. People who hold authority over me in official capacities, such as work or education, who I sense might have an issue with it. People I occasionally run into from my past who I know hold homophobic views. While I wish this was not the case, I recognise that I am fortunate to live in a society where these people are few and far between.

Finally, there was someone important who I forgot to tell for years. When on the phone with my brother discussing uni break plans, I mentioned that my girlfriend was planning on visiting. There was silence, a pause, and then “What do you mean, your girlfriend?”. In that second, I realised that despite telling my parents almost 6 years ago, I had never come out to my older brother! He had no problem at all with my being queer: it was the being left out he was annoyed with. He got by recounting this embarrassing tale (among several others) to my girlfriend a few weeks later.

Even though I now consider myself ‘out’, this doesn’t mean the list has stopped growing. I came out to my work colleague just a few days ago. In the days between writing this and it being published, I’ll probably have come out to somebody else. But it looks and feels very different now than it did back then. I drop a nonchalant ‘she’ in reference to my partner, and that’s that. A casualness I know my 14 year old self never dreamed of, and something I continue to be incredibly grateful for.

Thanks to my pal for sharing this piece with us. Tell me, would you like to see more guest posts on here? I’d love to hear your stories of coming out or loved ones who have come out to you.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s